Hurricane Harvey reminded communities across the country that we can better prepare for natural disasters. In the last 15 years, the federal government spent over $200 billion on disaster relief. Estimates of the total cost of Hurricane Harvey range from $75 billion to $190 billion, which would make it the costliest disaster in American history.
I helped pass a bill to provide emergency disaster funding for Harvey, so Texas can recover and rebuild, but the damage will require multiple aid packages over the next few months.
Helping one another in times of crisis is at the heart of American values, but building our resiliency to natural disasters will save lives and money in the long run. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, every dollar invested in preparedness and resiliency saves us four dollars in restoration costs.
Today, I introduced the bipartisan Strengthening the Resiliency of Our Nation on the Ground (STRONG) Act to give state and local governments the tools to plan ahead and improve
preparation and response to extreme weather.
Creating a central information center would allow Governors and Mayors to see strategies that are working in other parts of the country and adapt them to make their communities more resilient. The bill would also ensure the federal government is supporting their efforts strategically and efficiently.
San Diego Country officials predict this year will be the highest risk wildfire season our region has seen in years. Western states are facing some of the largest wildfires in recorded history. We can't wait for another devastating wildfire or Hurricane Harvey to finally have a
national vision that strengthens community resiliency in the face of increasing extreme weather.